Sunday, October 28, 2012

How not to use a PDF to advertise yourself

Isn't the value of a book determined by the amount that people are willing to pay for it?
Ok, this is one of those situations that even if you do not know the players involved, you can still roll your eyes with me.

A few years ago, someone issued a fifty dollar hardcover book. I think it was technically self-published.

It went out of print, and soon people were trying to sell it for a thousand dollars--but the highest I have seen it sell for on eBay is one hundred and fifty, and no one--I mean no one--has ever offered me more than the original fifty for the copy that is in my possession.

A couple of years ago, a pdf of the book ended up on the pirate sites. I am not sure if it is up on Pirate Bay, but I imagine that it is. I know that I could easily find a pdf of the book today if I didn't already have a copy.

There are some issues with this particular pdf. While it has all 666 pages, they are occasionally blurry and not all of them are in proper order. (The book is ok until page 505, then it has 520 & 521, then 536 & 537, then goes back to page 506, proceeds ok until page 519, then to page page 535, then goes back to 520, all is ok until page 523 when is jumps to page 538.)

Recently, the author (who refuses to publish anything new, or even reprint this book, because of the behavior of internet pirates; and brags about how much his book goes for, despite the fact that he says that resellers are a bunch of dishonest scalpers) offered a pdf of his book to people that attended a webinar of his.

Now, I have a friend who attended the webinar because they were hoping for a better pdf of the book. After all, it is simple to create a better pdf from the original files--and that what should be happening, right?

[Not a spy--a friend in this person's organization. There is a difference...or at least, in my universe, it is. I am quite sure that this author will think otherwise, but they already hate the fact that I occasionally communicate with people inside his organization. After all, this is an organization that has labeled me an enemy, and here I am still friends with people on the inside of it.]

Wrong, the writer was giving away copies of the bad scanned and formatted pirated version of their book. Oy vey. Here is a person who obviously does not know a marketing opportunity when they see one.

What they should have done is create a clean, completely readable version from their original file, added a few advertising pages (are they really married to the 666 page count?), with a linked table of contents, and gave that version out instead. You know, a version that was superior to the version already available on the pirate sites, complete with a note saying that they were giving an improved version of book to the greater community. You know--a win-win situation.

I do not know why they did not do this. But I do know that they missed a golden opportunity to advertise their expertise. A new clean version, complete with an advertising page, would get them more respect than giving out the same bad pirate version that most of us already had a copy of.

Oh well, they will still have a field day advertising themselves once they see this post...because they will come up with a spiritual reason about why what they did is better than doing this in the business-like manner that I think they should have used. After all, what do I know about spiritual matters--for god's sake, I am treating this situation like it was just an advertising campaign.

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